Archive | February, 2013

RECIPE #11: jAMAICAN CURRIED SHRIMP

25 Feb

Today when I got up my father offered to make breakfast.  He also told me he put a new battery in my computer.  These random acts of kindness are not all that random..I think he is just really just trying to butter me up.  He may be more exciting about my journey than I am.  LOL..  Grocery story shopping has become so interesting, now I am trying not to get the same meats over and over again. Then I realized we haven’t eaten shrimp in a while. Decided to see what the COOKBOOK had for shrimp.  Curried Shrimp yum! Curry is so good, and similar to jerk seasonings, you can curry almost anything. So curried Shrimp it is! Although, warning from now, ladies, If you just got your nails done you may want to wait before making this dish. You will find out why at the end.

Here is the recipe from the book:

  • 2lbs fresh shirmp
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1fl oz oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 3-4 slices hot pepper
  • 1 sweet pepper, chopped (optional)
  • salt
  • blackpepper
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Shell the shrimps, then fry them gently in the butter and oil with the onions and garlic.  Add the curry powder, stirring it for a few seconds, then add the tomato, hot pepper, sweet pepper, salt and black pepper,  Pour in the water, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium.  The dish should be ready in 10 minutes or when the sac has reduces and thickened.

OK Here is what I did:

I followed the recipe almost exactly, I bought a pack of frozen shrimp already shelled and cleaned. I just rinsed them off.

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I also added a some salt to the shrimp before I began frying.  I fried the shrimp with the onions and garlic in the butter and oil mix. The smell was divine!

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I fried the shrimp slowly, and soon they  turned that gorgeous pink color. Image

Then, I added my curry. I have curry that I bought from a Jamaican bakery. They sell nice big bags that are made in Jamaica.  But they sell curry in almost every grocery story now.

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Smelling good!! I added water, and then covered the pot to let it simmer.

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Wallah! Image

I served mine up with white rice! It was so good dad went back for seconds, so did I. LOL

The only thing I would change about this recipe is adding less water.  I wanted my sauce to be a little thicker.  Besides that the shrimps were spicy and delicious. The only thing about curry is that it stains.  Curry will stain everything, your clothes, your hand, your skin, your nails. Look at my palm a day later from where I placed a drop to taste the sauce!

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No worries, it will fade away.  Besides, it was all worth it!

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Recipe #10: Jamaican Oxtails

19 Feb

If you are planning on a quick meal, this is not the one! Oxtails are delicious, but definitely take some planning. I’ve never had oxtails outside of a Jamaican bakery or restaurant, so homemade oxtails are an adventure. Lately, I hear more and more people in the states asking for oxtails, good to see people broadening their horizons!!

Here is the recipe from the book:

  • 2lb oxtail
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 spring thyme
  • 3 slices hot pepper
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 lb cooked broad beans

Wash and dry the pieces of oxtail and brown them in oil.  Add 4 cups of water, bring to a boil, then lower and simmer until the oxtail is tender, adding more water if necessary.  Reduce the sauce to a thick gravy by increasing the heat, then add the tomatoes, onions, garlic, thyme, hot pepper, salt and black pepper.  stir for a few minutes, then add the remaining water and broad beans.  Mix them in, lower the hear, cover again, and simmer for 10 minutes or until the water evaporates leaving a thick gravy.  Serve with rice.

OK here is what I did:

First of all, I decided to marinate my oxtails first. So I added the oxtails, onions, thyme, garlic, hot pepper, salt and pepper in a bowl and refrigerated it over night. I also added some browning to make sure that I got some color on my oxtails. Image

Next day, I went ahead and fried the oxtails. Got them nice and brown, I fried a few pieces at a time and  removed them from the pot. Image

Once my batch was browned, I added everything back and covered the meat with water.

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Now this part takes a while, Oxtails are a pretty tough cut of meat. So I let them simmer for about 2 hours, to get the meat really tender. To the point that it was falling of the bone. Then I added all of the other ingredients. Broad beans are just another word for butter beans.  I got nervous about the flavor and also added a little more salt and pepper.

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I let all of that go for about another hour and served it up with a fresh batch of rice and peas.

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The oxtails were delicious.  If they cook for as long as I said then they come out nice and tender. Meat was falling off the bone! YUM!  Mom said she wanted it spicier tho! LOL.. always can be spicier!

Recipe #9: Saltfish and PawPaw (Papaya)

18 Feb

The recipe book said “Saltfish and Pawpaw.”  My first question.. what in the world is paw paw?! My father says that he thinks that at some point in his life he has had salt fish and papaya.  His mother may have cooked it for him and that is the last time he has ever had it. Just goes to show how old school some of these recipes are.  I have never heard of salt fish and papaya, ever! Matter a fact, before this project I had never even opened up a papaya… Made me a little nervous…Here goes…

Here is the recipe from the book:

  • 1/2 lb salt cod
  • 2lb green papaya
  • 6 slilces of bacon
  • oil
  • 2 onions
  • 1 tomato
  • 4 slices hot pepper
  • 1 spring of thyme
  • 1 cup water

Boil the salt cod in water for 15 minutes.  In the meantime peel and slice the pawpaw, discard the seeds, and set it aside.  When the fish is cooked, put it under some running water to cool, then remove the skin and bones and flake the fish.

Fry the bacon in a little oil, then remove from the pan and set aside.  Add the onions, tomato, hot pepper and thyme to the pan.  Stir for a few minutes and then add the flaked fish; stir again and add the slices pawpaw.  Pour in the water, cover the pan, and simmer until the pawpaw is tender and the liquid is reduced to a gravy.  Garnish the saltfish and pawpaw with the bacon.

OK here is what I did:

Like I said, I have never used or opened a papaya. Image

A little intimidating.. lol.

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Gorgeous. When I opened it, I got worried.  The Papaya was a little more ripe than I thought. I decided to go ahead and move forward with the recipe.  I scooped the seeds of the papaya out and began slicing.

I also began boiling some green bananas to go along with it.

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I followed the recipe exactly, except I added more thyme and a few red pepper flakes.

ImageSprinkled the bacon on top!! Bacon makes everything delicious!

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I had to taste it at this point. My goodness…divine!  A sweet, salty, spicy mix of flavors!

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I served it with some left over dumplings and the boiled green banana.  I was so nervous to try this, but it turned out so good. I am glad to have another saltfish recipe under my belt.

My dad also enjoyed it. He said I needed to make more gravy so the dumpling and the banana could soak some of it up. Next time, I will also try to find a less ripe papaya. My dad said it should be more green than pink, but he said quote “It nah taste bad, it taste good ya nuh” lol.. Keep it spicy!

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Recipe #8: Ackee and Saltfish with Fried Plantain and Dumplings

17 Feb

Ackee and Saltfish! Jamaica’s National Dish, made with Jamaica’s National Fruit, Ackee! I grew up eating Ackee and salt fish on Sunday mornings for years.  Then, for a while ackee disappeared from stores in the U.S. An ugly rumor that Ackee was poisonous spread and Ackee was banned in the United States.  Ackee is only unsafe if the pods are not opened before they are picked.  Luckily, the U.S lifted their ackee ban years ago, and we can eat ackee again!

Here is the recipe from the book:

  • 2 dozen ackees in pods
  • 1/2 lb salt cod
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 spring thyme
  • 3-4 slices hot pepper
  • 1 small tomato
  • black pepper

Choose ackees that are completely open, with the black seed and yellow fruit clearly visible in the pod.

Remove the ackees from the pods.  Discard the seeds and the pink membrane found in the cleft of each fruit.  wash them an put them to boil in a lard pot of water with the salt fish.  As soon as the ackees are tender, pour the contents of the pot into a large sieve, discarding the ware.  Separate the ackees from the fish.  Run some clod water over the fish so that you can remove the bones and skin, then flake it and set it aside.

Put the butter and oil to heat in a frying pan. Add the onions thyme and hot pepper slices, and tomato.  Stir for a few minutes then add the flaked fish.  Stir for a few more minutes then add the drained ackees, carefully stirring so as not the crush them.  Add a little more oil if necessary, sprinkle with plenty of freshly ground pepper, and the dish is ready.

O.K. Here is what I did.

Now, I had no intention of looking for actual ackee, and I don’t even think you can find the fruit in the states.  Luckily, you can get ackee in a can! If you go to almost any grocery now, ackee in a can is available.

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I drained the ackee from the water, and set it aside.

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Then, I followed the rest of the instructions.  I fried the onions, added the thyme, and used red pepper flakes ( I have to buy more hot pepper).  Image

I let that delicious smelling mixture fry for a while and then I added the salt fish that I had flaked from the previous cod fish recipe. (If you didn’t check out the last recipe.  Just take some cod fish fillets, boil them twice and then flake the fish.)  I let that fry again for a few mins, stirred the pot and then added my ackees. My mother and father do not like crushed ackee, so I made sure that I stirred very carefully. Also, I added quite a bit of black pepper at then end.  I covered the pot and let it simmer.

With the ackee, I fried up some sweet plantain. This is a great addition to the ackee.  I simply peeled the plantain and fried in hot oil.

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I also rolled out some dumplings. Which just consists of flour, salt, cornmeal and baking powder.  Then just add water.

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I separated the dough into flat circles and fried them until golden brown on each side. Then Sunday Brunch is served!

Ackee and saltfish with fried plantain and dumplings.  Delicious, and traditional!! Image

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Some people say ackee is an acquired taste, I just think it is delicious. It was also featured on food networks Diners, Drive Ins and Dives once.  If you want a true taste of Jamaica, THIS is the dish to make!! Keep it spicy!

Recipe #7: Cod (Salt) Fish Fritters

16 Feb

Fritters, a yummy lunch time snack. Made with Salt fish, or cod fish (as you will find it in the super maket)  What is interesting about this recipe is again I was looking for the term I grew up with, which was fritters. But as I searched through the book, I couldn’t find the recipe for fritters.  I finally found a recipe in the cookbook called “Stamp and Go”. I asked my mother.  She said that in Jamaica she used to called them Snap and Go’s.  She didn’t even realize that the actual name was Stamp and Go. Looks like we are both learning things from my journey!!

Here is the recipe from the book:

  • 1/2 lb salt cod
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 tea spoon baking soda (optional)
  • 3 stalks scallion
  • 2 hot peppers
  • 1/2 tomato
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • oil

Soak the fish in water for 30 mins.  Remove the bones and skin and shred the fish finely.  Place the flour in the bowl, and add the baking powder, scallion, hot peppers, tomato, thyme.  Add enough water to make a soft sticky batter. Drop the mixture from a spoon into medium hot oil until they are golden brown.  Drain them on a a paper and serve them hot.

O.K Here is what I did:

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I used all of the same ingredients except the tomato.   Only because I didn’t have any in the house. Also, I added quite a bit of black pepper.  I boiled my fish, instead of just soaking it.  Cod Fish is really salty, and boiling out the salt is quicker than just soaking it.  I boiled it once, then poured out the water, added more, and boiled it again.  Then I flaked the fish with a fork. Image

*Warning* Do not start tasting the flakes of salt fish! You WILL become addicted and won’t be able to stop. Then you won’t have any for your fritters!! LOL.

After I added all my ingredients in the bowl, I added water. The consistency should be like a chunky pancake batter.

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I heated the oil before I added the mixture to the pan and it began frying perfectly.  So again, make sure the oil is hot, not smoking, but hot.

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Flipped each one, and whallah, fritters!

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The only thing I would change is not adding baking powder.  I wanted the fritters to be more crispy and the baking powder puffed them a bit.  But they were still delicious.  They didn’t last too long either. LOL  You can play with the amount of fish you want to put in your fritters,  and the amount of hot pepper.  My dad also suggested putting some hot sauce to make the fritter spicier!

Recipe #6: Traditional Homemade Jerked Seasoning on Pork Chops

13 Feb

YUMMY!! As promised, I said I was going to make a homemade jerk recipe.  I read a jerked pork chop recipe in the book, but I wasn’t sure because the ingredients in the book didn’t sound like the type of jerk seasonings that I know. This book actually doesn’t even have a recipe for jerk chicken, which is the jerk that most of us are used to.  The only recipe that it has is for those jerked pork chops.  Luckily, I took pork chops out of the freezer last night and they were ready to be cooked.

According to my parents, during the time that this book was published, 1985, jerk was mostly done on pork.  Jerk chicken didn’t become known as the popular jerk that we are used to until later when cooks would roll around on the North Coast attracting tourists to their fragrant drums, where they grilled Jerk chicken.

Jerk chicken became the popular jerked food, when actually, traditionally, jerk pork was the original jerk!  The recipe from the book is the traditional jerk.

Here is the recipe from the book:

  • 4lbs pork chops or any other cut
  • 2 oz pimento berries (all spice)
  • 6 stalks escallion, chopped
  • 2-3 hot pepper, chopped
  • 4 cinnamon leaves, or bay leaves, chopped
  • salt
  • pepper

Wash and dry the pork. Heat the pimento berries in a small frying pan, stirring them for 5 minutes, then put them in a mortar and pound them until they are powdery.  Add the escallion, hot pepper, cinnamon or bay leaves, salt and pepper.  Pound these together until you have a thick paste.  Rub the paste all over the pork and leave it for at least an hour over night in the refrigerator.

When you are ready to cook, placed the seasoned meat on the grill of a barbecue or coal pot.  Life the grill to the highest notch on the barbecue and gently cook the meat over charcoal made from burning green pimento wood. Or you can throw pimento berries on the charcoal… Pork should be ready in an hour.

Here is what I did:

I followed the recipe for the jerk paste almost exactly. The fragrance from the roasting pimento (all spice) berries was amazing.

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Now I don’t have a mortar (something I need to invest it), my mother had the nerve to hand me a toy one… smh. So  instead I used a wooden block and crushed up the pimento. The crushing the pimento part took a while.   I added all of the other ingredients, I used a bay leaf, and ended up with a great smelling paste.  *Probably was a little chunkier than it needed to be, but smashing those pimento berries was no joke.*

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I went ahead and rubbed the pork chops with the paste, coating both sides.

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Since it is also winter, I didn’t pull out the grill.  I just baked my pork chops.  I baked them for 45 minutes… my father likes his meat well done. Then I broiled it for 5 mins, just to get a nice color.

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Sooo.. how did my traditional jerk seasoning turn out.?…Amazing! My mom loved it, the flavor was so good. So different than the stuff from the jar.  I can’t wait until summer time, I am going to pull out the grill and put that paste on everything!

Change? Time should be spent really grinding down those pimento berries, otherwise the pieces may be to big.  But they sell ground allspice pimento berries as well, so maybe I will try that.  Also, next time I will definitely marinate it over night and add another hot pepper, you know I love it spicy!!

Recipe #5: Jerk Salmon

11 Feb

This recipe shouldn’t really count.  It isn’t out of the book, but it is as Jamaican as they come because of the jerk!! Looove Jerk, and you can jerk anything. I used the simple jerk paste out of the jar. This is my favorite, but there are many others.

All you need,

  •  jerk paste
  • salmon
  • salt
  • pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

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Later, I promise to conjure up my own jerk paste.

Take your salmon,

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Salt and pepper the top of your salmon. Spread the jerk paste over the top.  The amount of paste you spread will tell you how spicy your salmon will be.

I spread it lightly, my dad said I was trying to burn his tongue off this weekend.. lol

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Then you can bake the salmon for 15 mins in the oven. The salmon should flake easily with a fork, and since I know whenever someone has told me that I am never sure what it should actually look like… here is what it looks like. 🙂

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Trust me… finger licking good!!